For the 14th time since 1994, the Yacht Club de Monaco staged its biennial Monaco Classic Week for boats this past weekend in a watery version of Goodwood or, perhaps, of the vintage sports car races at Laguna Seca or those hosted by Monte Carlo itself.
“It is a stunning celebration of the yachting lifestyle that dates back over generations, putting the spotlight on gleaming hulls and beautiful boats, be they sailing or motor,” the organizers proclaimed.
“It is not just about competition but naval etiquette done with panache by the Club in partnership with Rolex and Credit Suisse.”
The trophy for the most elegant and best-restored yacht went to Puritan, originally launched in 1930, while the La Belle Classe restoration prize went to Ester, a 1901 Swedish sloop resurrected 75 years after burning and sinking more than 150 feet to the seabed.
“It was not until 2012 that Per Hellgren finally managed to locate the wreck using sonar,” the Monaco event organizers said. “She was raised in 2016, which marked the start of an incredible restoration story, the results of which were admired by all.”
“Back in 2012 I was thinking how thrilling it would be to bring Ester to Monaco Classic Week,” said Bo Ericsson, one of the boat’s owners. “Seven years later, that dream became a reality. We put together the cream of international technicians, for the hull, frames, rigging, sails, etc.
“Of course, much of the boat has been rebuilt with Swedish pine and spruce. But thanks to the very accurate documents we found in Sweden, we were able to follow to the letter the details of the original construction. It has been an amazing adventure. The end result has exceeded even our craziest expectations.”
More than 100 classic yachts, including seven schooners, took part in the events, with sailors, owners and skippers coming from 26 countries.
The featured “marque,” if you will, was a focus on the glory years of American sailing and motor boats. Present were the 1987 America’s Cup winner French Kiss from the Manhattan Yacht Club and 1946 winner Comet from Nantucket. Also taking part was the SS Delphine, the largest steam-powered boat still sailing, organizers said, and built by the Dodge family.
Another highlight was the presence of Atlantic, the New York yacht Club schooner that in 1905 set a record for an Atlantic crossing — 12 days, 4 hours, 1 minute, 19 seconds.
The 1930 schooner Puritan won the Elegance and La Belle Classe Restoration award.
The Elegance Prize for motorboats was awarded to Miss Nancy while the 1905 cutter Oriole took that award for sailing yachts.
“Sailing on these classic boats is magical, but obviously not because of the speed but other sensations, even their very particular smell,” said Franck Cammas, skipper of Gitana 17.
“When you have a taste for the sea, beauty is important,” he added.
Technically, when we are hesitating on choices, we opt for the most beautiful, and generally that works out. A lovely boat is a quick boat! And vice-versa, a boat that is fast becomes beautiful. Aesthetics are less important today in boat development, but we must never forget our traditions.”